First- Year Composition Prepares Students for Academic Writing by: Tyler Branson
From reading the very first page I instantly thought about my experiences so far in my graduate courses with all my classmates as teachers. Normally when presenting or sharing work I usually get just a tad bit of butterflies. Not because I am questioning the work that I am presenting, because I always believe in whatever I am sharing with others, but the question is will others understand it the way that I am explaining it. On top of that in the front and in the back of my mind are the teachers in my class focusing on my sentence structure and grammar? If yes, I will overthink and feel that they are so distracted by that, they can’t even get to my story. The reason why this comes up in my head is because an English teacher will always let you know that they are in fact an English teacher, and almost can’t help themselves when it comes to automatically correcting with their eyes someone else work. Even if it isn’t asked of them. English teachers have become the honorary grammar police, and I don’t think that’s what they signed up for.. or did they?
I am actually very pleased that it was mentioned how teaching grammar and mechanics does not improve student writing. I know some people reading that line might be thinking that doesn’t even make sense! But honestly, that is how I always viewed it. I have to finally admit that I am not the best at grammar, my spelling can be a little shaky and there are many different grammar rules that are just a tad bit confusing, but I believe I can still write my ass off. Storytelling is my vice, I create stories in my head and am able to articulate them on to paper. In my opinion that is a good writer. Let me rephrase, that is one type of a good writer, because there are many different ways one can be a good writer, that just happens to be mine.
“The five-paragraph essay template becomes increasingly irrelevant because it doesn’t resemble anything about how writing looks in the real world or what different audiences expect in different reading contexts.” In all of my graduate classes so far (4) all of my professors in some way ask how or when did I begin to learn writing, and it always brings me back to learning the five-paragraph template style. If I can be totally transparent I am wondering now if the purpose in learning that, similar to math equations was solely for my studies during school. I am honestly trying to think of a time where I used this method in the real working world. A little background for context, I have worked in a hospital in administration, and I have worked in media as a program coordinator, I have done a ton of freelance work with event marketing and planning, and I have never, not once needed to use the five paragraph essay template. I guess you might assume writing email would require that, but funny enough people love emails to be quick and straight to the point.
Overall this piece was interesting regarding all of the things that should be taught and understood during first year writing, even though I believe the time of first year is situational considering everyone’s different learning timeline.
Reading is Not Essential to Writing Instruction by Julie Myatt Barger
“They should know this stuff before they get here.” Might be the biggest misconception between school and home. I understand this article is in regards to reading but that line can literally be applied to so much. There is such a disconnect with what should be taught at home, such as reading and what should be taught in school. I believe it should be not only taught at both home and school but it should also be practiced consistently at both home and school. “As teachers understandably grew fearful about losing their jobs because of low tests scores, they devoted class time to preparing students for tests rather than developing practices that would have helped students improve as readers and writers.” This topic is actually something that I am very passionate about. My current job is the Program Coordinator of Original Great Expectations which is a in school and after school program that teaches students how to manage themselves. This gives them resources and opportunities that they didn’t even realize was available to them, and apart of the reason they didn’t know it was available to them is because of the disconnect from school and home. The school is focused on test scores, the home is focused on preparing the young adults for the real world, and unfortunately in most homes parents are so consumed with managing their own life a lot of lessons are being missed or forgot about assuming these young kids are learning in school. Something as simple as how to fill out a job application, the basics of money, and how to send an email. I said all of that to say it doesn’t surprise me that it is lost in translation on to where and when should a student be taught or maintained how to read. However if a teacher is told their duty is to make sure the students pass those tests, then that is what they will do. I am lucky enough that I had several teachers who went above and beyond that and made sure we actually learned things that we can apply to our lives and not just how to pass a state test.
I want to leave my last bit of feedback with another line that jumped out at me. ” Composition scholars readily agree that students need to be taught how to write rather than merely be tasked with writing.” Kelly Gallagher, the high school English language arts teacher hit the nail on the head with her techniques on what teachers must do to ensure their students are actually learning how to read. This read might be one of my favorites because I am a strong advocate for teaching students, and non students how to think oppose to what to think.
Failure is Not an Option by Allison D. Carr
Reading this very sarcastic title I knew this would be about why failure is actually a good thing. I consider myself a creative, I throw and host events, I write books, and I am convinced my brain works differently than a lot of other people I know. If I had the mindset of failure scaring me I probably wouldn’t be in graduate school right now. With being a creative, failure is just a part of the process, it’s apart of trial and error. Some things will work and other things you’ll learn how to make it better next time. Of course without failure the wins won’t get the appreciation it deserves. I am basically flipping the title and being as optimistic as I should be, simply because failure is apart of life, yet it doesn’t have to be a negative part.
“To fail willingly in writing is to be empowered by the possibilities that emerge. It is to trust oneself and one’s ideas, a quality too rare in the age of hyper-achievement, in which the only progress that counts is progress that moves up.” For some reason while reading this I said to myself this should be the official definition of failure. Of course the actual definition is lack of success. Failure of course can be tied to literally any and everything, but because I am coming from a writers standpoint, failure within the writing world seems like the one of the most terrible things ever. I mean it can’t be erased, literally it’s in ink it can’t be erased. So I can see rereading your actual failure can be heartbreaking and a serious confidence killer.
I am also pleased with this piece in regards to showing all sides of failing, turning a negative into a positive is always the way I like to look at life, and making failure an option is no different here.
Envisioning possibilities: visualizing as enquiry in literacy studies by, Anna Smith, Matthew Hall and Nick Sousanis
In this read the best way for me to sum everything up would be, ” engaging spatially with image and text, in negotiating ideas and aesthetics, partners me with a powerful set of collaborators.” For me, the key word in that would be collaborators. Writing for myself is such an interesting thing to talk about because I always try to find the best tools to get my full story across. In the current novel I am writing I am using journal entries as a huge part of telling my stories. My style of writing is mostly geared towards young adult and adult so I never thought about using anything other than actual words. Although it isn’t my style I 100% believe that it is helpful for a writer to use such techniques. I am actually interesting in hearing what Hugo thought of this and what pieces he was able to pick from it! I have a feeling it is going to be something regarding his artistic view.